* Posts by Lomax

232 posts • joined 31 Mar 2009


China’s preferred Linux distro trumpets Arm benchmark results


Re: Remind me

Intel Management Engine can be neutered, though the procedure is not for the faint of heart:


In particular, this will disable the ME's network stack, which should make it pretty useless as a backdoor.


So you agreed with my post? For some reason I got a different impression. My apologies!


Me: It's difficult to avoid becoming more totalitarian when in open competition with a totalitarian state.

AC: Wrong; you're already half way there!

Me: ...




> And Taiwan too...

Which is also a democracy...


> Just like Japan and Korea.

With one small difference: both those countries are democracies. Which means we did not have to subvert the electoral process, reduce worker's rights, curtail freedom of speech, restrict access to information, or introduce draconian mass surveillance, in order to compete effectively with them. How can we compete with China?

Soft press keys for locked-down devs: Three new models of old school 60-key Happy Hacking 'board out next month


Re: I used to use L,H,J,K lad, and I were lucky to even have that!

> bold move for a "developer" keyboard

No function keys either! What digital contortion is required to Ctrl+Alt+F1-8? Alt+F4? F5 to refresh? F11 for full screen? F12 for debug console? No dedicated Home, End, Ins, Del, PgUp, PgDn. Space-bar the size of a shift key. What are you supposed to be programming with this, a VHS recorder? It's like paying more for less. A lot more!

If you wanna make your own open-source chip, just Google it. Literally. Web giant says it'll fab them for free


> Last time I looked into it, eyetracker interfaces were the state of the art - seriously expensive, and very slow.

I don't know when that was, but it seems things have moved on; here's a hot-off-the-press study in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science:

Accuracy and precision of the HTC VIVE PRO eye tracking in head-restrained and head-free conditions

Alexandra Sipatchin; Siegfried Wahl; Katharina Rifai - June 2020

They find that this consumer (US$800) VR headset can track the wearer's eyes with an average accuracy of around 4° in a 25° radius around the center of view. That's not super precise, but should be enough to support meaningful UI interactions for people with LIS.

Facebook accused of trying to bypass GDPR, slurp domain owners' personal Whois info via an obscure process

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Re: What do you think it is about

> I intend to ask for turdburgers

> they looked and tasted like pressed sludge dredged out of the Hudson River

I think The Yes Men are on to something:


After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good


Re: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

This would happen if the battery got low. You could release the mirror by turning the shutter speed ring to "B" (also marked as "reset" bottom right IIRC). But if you were out & about without a spare battery you were SOL; all speeds were electronically controlled with no mechanical fall-back. Just another area where Olympus were way ahead of everyone else :D

Not that I would kick an FA out of the bed. I had an FM2 for many years and loved it. Eventually went digital with a D200, then bought the FM3A, then went medium format. TBH, I am was more of a Nikonian than an Olympian. In terms of £££ spent probably a Hasslian?


Re: The smartphone is not the problem...

> The SLR became mature at the end of '70s, when it added full aperture metering, replaced unreliable and delicate meters with silicon ones, and shutters became metallic and vertically operated.

The OM-2 has all of those apart from the metal shutter and was introduced in 1975. Still syncs at 1/60 with a horizontal fabric shutter. And despite being smaller and lighter you could use it to grind a 6D into a pile of plastic granules while suffering little more than a few scratches.


Re: The smartphone is not the problem...

> The main problem is that sales drop when a product has finally matured

Perhaps. Though arguably the 35mm SLR was mature by 1970 - yet continued to sell for another 30 years. Cost cutting / profit maximising / shareholder dividending might be a bigger problem; we just don't make things as expensively as we used to. Case in point, the Nikon FM3A which launched in 2001. It was supposed to be a "classic" 35mm SLR revival camera in the vein of the venerable FM and FE series. I owned one though, and it felt like a cheap piece of tat compared to the FM/FE bodies - complete with a painted plastic prism housing (imagine what that looked like after a few years days on the road...) Another one: the much lauded Canon 5/6D, which everyone and their dog seems to use these days - even for cinema production. Despite whatever its optical/digital qualities may be I cannot overcome the disgust I feel whenever I handle one; the thing is built like a child's plastic toy! No joy whatsoever - and even less so after smattering away 30,000 frames with three way bracketing; what am I supposed to do with them all!? Laptops are the same; not long ago we were happy to pay £3k for an IBM ThinkPad which had the build quality of an Apollo Programme device; today we have to be content with a cheap imitation from Lenovo at half the price (despite inflation!), which has the build quality (and ergonomics) of a Fisher Price product.




Sad news indeed! My first "proper" camera was an OM-2, and despite having owned several Nikons, two Hasselblads, and a bunch of other nice cameras, it's still my favourite. Supremely well made, smaller and more compact than any competitor, with excellent ergonomics - and one of the first to have TTL flash control. I had the winder and a selection of lovely Zuiko lenses, which similarly to the body had a compactness that belied their quality; 135mm f/3.5, 50mm f/1.4 and 28mm f/2.8 IIRC. The 135mm had a built in telescoping lens shade which I haven't seen on any other lens - very handy. To me, the sound of the OM-2 fabric shutter still defines how a camera should sound. Out of the 10 best photos I ever took, about half were taken with the OM-2. Post digital I kinda lost interest in photography, though I had a brief medium format revival a few years ago. There's not the same joy in taking pictures with a computer. Nowadays I exclusively take photos for documentation purposes, with a Ricoh GX200 (another legendary company btw).

Digital killed the photography star.

Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app


> Apples % take on sales is extortionate. Far higher than any retailer.

I'm pretty sure that is incorrect. Clothing retail for example can have mark-up as high as 400%. In fact that's probably a very conservative guesstimate. How much do you think Nike pays their slave labour camps suppliers for a pair of plastic shoes which retail at £100? £5? £1?

The rest of your post is spot on though, so have an upvote!


No need to repeat what's already in the thread unless it is pertinent to your message. If I'm replying to specific points in an email (or on a forum) I'll inline my replies with the individual points I'm addressing. If I'm just continuing the general conversation I often Ctrl+A before I start typing. I never bottom post below a massive amount of text where no-one only us greybeards will know to look.


Re: Apple are like modern day

Wow. Just wow. If you're looking for a wankstain who has no idea how to behave in a society, find yourself a mirror.

Flagged for moderation. Twice.


But but but but but

Will you get email notifications for new messages on "Hey"? Will it talk IMAP? Will my (id)IoT systems be able to send and receive messages through the service? Will my Sailfish powered mobile device go "pling" when I get a new message? Can I download my messages for offline access? How many pages of indecipherable terms & conditions will I need to accept to use the service? Will those T&Cs change when the service is bought by Amazon/Microsoft/Google/[insert evil megacorp name]? Will world+cat suddenly find themselves unable to communicate in the unlikely event that when "Hey's" servers can't be reached? Will there be an open and free API for third party developers to use? Can I write my own "Hey" compatible software? Is yet another proprietary centralised comms platform really what the world needs? Do I feel comfortable with storing my nude photos cat pictures on a server I do not control? Will the "Hey" servers be based in a civilised part of the world that has strong privacy legislation or in a corrupt totalitarian banana republic the USA? Will I be able to run my own, private, "Hey" server? Does it handle CalDAV/CardDAV sync and storage? Is it possible to "improve" something without replacing it? Is backwards compatibility an important principle or just an obsoleted ideal from yesteryear?

Have we learned nothing?


> Ruby on Rails inventor David Heinemeier Hansson

He may have invented Rails, but he sure as hell didn't invent Ruby!

> Hansson co-wrote Agile Web Development with Rails

I think I found the problem.

Repair store faces hefty legal bill after losing David and Goliath fight with Apple over replacement iPhone screens

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Apple: rotten to the core.

Snapping at Canonical's Snap: Linux Mint team says no to Ubuntu store 'backdoor'


Re: re: We do. But first and foremost.....

"Other people" already have plenty of choices - what sets Linux apart is the level of control you have over it.

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Re: If it's not broken, don't fix it.

Or, as LP might say: if it's not broken, fix it until it is.

Canonical are clearly trying hard to become the next Red Hat. How much is a Shuttle worth these days? Personally, I'm laughing all the way to the Devuan.


Re: @Lomax

@Anonymous Coward: see icon.


>Linux needs an app delivery format

Yeah, it's incredible that it has managed to survive for so long without one.

Also missing: a Linux tutorial for new users during set-up. Should include a section on APT/YUM and FHS.


>We do want Linux to be mainstream, don't we?

Not at any cost.


Re: Debian and Debian derivatives

I switched my apt sources to Beowulf a couple weeks ago, and did an aptitude full-upgrade with only minor difficulty. Beowulf feels faster and more responsive than ASCII on my main laptop (i7 X230), and ASCII was already plenty fast. Result!


Re: Bad neighbor

Devuan +1

I've been running it on my main laptop, a local server and a whole bunch of Pis since "ASCII". Recently migrated to "Beowulf" (which incidentally was released yesterday) and was blown away by the speed & quality improvements. It's a superb distro - and I've tried a few, including Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Mint, Alpine, Debian, Red Hat, and others I can't remember. Never been down the Arch, Slack or BSD paths, but that's mainly because I started my Linux journey on Ubuntu and got used to the Debian way. I would recommend anyone with an interest in Linux to give Devuan a go - you may never look back!

'I wrote Task Manager': Ex-Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer spills the beans


Re: Today's Taskmanager

Good old Seven; the last version of Windows that was compatible with my neocortex - and with my ethics.

If you miss the happier times of the 2000s, just look up today's SCADA gear which still has Stuxnet-style holes


Re: Old design old problems

Registering on a forum only to plug a product with your very first post is never a good look.

Started from the bottom, now we're near: 16 years on, open-source vector graphics editor Inkscape draws close to v1.0


Re: Bad news: Extensions will need to be updated to work with this release

> I'll have to be happy with my vintage version.

...or help make the extension compatible.

HMD Global pokes head out of quarantine to show off 3 new Nokia mobiles

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Writing this on an XA2 Dual SIM - the small one, not an "Ultra" or a "Plus" - running Sailfish 3.2 without the spyware Android layer. Great performance in a pocket friendly size, and the dual SIM slots prove incredibly useful now that I'm under CV lock-down in a foreign country. Only complaint would be somewhat sluggish JS performance on some websites (I'm looking at you Indy) - but El Reg flies along :)

Morrisons puts non-essential tech changes on ice as panic-stricken shoppers strip stores


Re: Flu....

So it seems COVID-19 is something like 20 times deadlier than a garden variety flu, though I have seen estimates around 2-3% from multiple trustworthy sources. The WHO puts it at 3.4%. But as you say, these numbers typically fail to take into account that an unknown number of those infected may have mild enough symptoms not to seek medical help and get tested. Perhaps not even fair to compare in the first place since they belong to different families, and the effects are quite different. I just read this in the Indy:

Italian doctors have warned medics across Europe to “get ready” for coronavirus in a letter revealing up to 10 per cent of all those infected with coronavirus need intensive care, with hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

The letter, seen by The Independent, reveals the scale of the impact on hospitals in Italy where 5,883 patients have been infected with the virus and 233 people have died as of 6pm on Saturday.

In the note, sent to the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, critical care experts Professor Maurizio Cecconi, Professor Antonio Pesenti and Professor Giacomo Grasselli, from the University of Milan, revealed how difficult it had been to treat coronavirus patients.

They said: “We are seeing a high percentage of positive cases being admitted to our intensive care units (ICUs), in the range of 10 per cent of all positive patients."

That's... not good. The UK has about half as many ICU beds per capita as the Eropean average (~6 per 100k vs ~11 per 100k - Italy has 12.5). Add to that the elevated risk of infection faced by health-care staff, with the possibility that many of them will be forced to self-isolate, and it looks like a perfect storm for the poor old NHS. I recommend reading the linked article in full; it has more detail on the effects of the virus.

Don't be fooled, experts warn, America's anti-child-abuse EARN IT Act could burn encryption to the ground


Re: *shudders*

> Perfectly Panders to the Phoney Proselytizing Praying Protectors of Personal Purity.

You are A Man from Mars, and I claim my five pounds.

After 1.5 million days of computer time, SETI@home heads home to probe potential signs of alien civilizations


Re: Small window of time

It seems logical to assume that the same factors which drove these developments here on Earth would also apply to any alien civilisation which develops radio. So it is possible, perhaps even likely, that our search for alien radio signals will remain fruitless (cf. METI), and that some other means of detecting life/intelligence on other planets is needed. The James Webb Space Telescope may be able to capture spectra from the atmospheres of extrasolar planets, which could be used to detect the likely presence of life; certain compositions would be difficult to explain other than as the result of some biological process. I have hope such a detection might even happen in my lifetime - surely the greatest discovery in all of human history - and shall be crossing my fingers quite firmly come launch-day.


Re: Small window of time

Not only that; signal strength has decreased dramatically since the early days of radio, in step with inreased receiver sensitivity. And much that used to be broadcast is now distributed over the Internet instead. Thirdly, broadcast transmissions today often come from satellites, which direct their output at a nicely absorbing body. I expect these trends to continue, at least until human colonies / spacecraft are scattered around the galaxy.

Breaker one-nine, this trucker's rubber ducked, facing a year in the slammer for Acer laptop thefts


And yet, gambling addiction is a thing. Keenly encouraged by a myriad of shady businesses. Why it remains legal, while other drug dealing is not, I cannot understand.

According to the [Australian] Productivity Commission's 2010 final report into gambling, the social cost of problem gambling [in Australia] is close to 4.7 billion dollars a year. Some of the harms resulting from problem gambling include depression, suicide, lower work productivity, job loss, relationship breakdown, crime and bankruptcy. A survey conducted in 2008 found that the most common motivation for fraud was problem gambling, with each incident averaging a loss of $1.1 million. (Wikipedia)

Basically, addicts commit crimes on behalf of gambling companies, who promptly off-shore the stolen cash. Drug dealers at least provide an actual product.

Get in the C: Raspberry Pi 4 can handle a wider range of USB adapters thanks to revised design's silent arrival


Re: Power to the Pi-ple

> a piece of cake


> using the pin headers for power (whether in or out) has a major draw-back: it gets really fiddly if you also want the Pi to wear a hat


Power to the Pi-ple

Personally, I would much rather see a sturdier and more tinkering friendly power connector on the Pi. I typically use the Pi in conjunction with a load of other 5 V powered thingamawidgets, and often opt to use the pin headers to supply power instead of the Micro-USB port (or USB-C on the Pi4). This because 1) the Pi's internal power bus can only handle max 1.75 A on the Pi 3 (minus any current drawn over the USB or camera interfaces), and I often need moar power for LEDs, steppers and such 2) while I do have male solderable Micro-USB plugs in my parts bins, they're a pain in the $%& to solder, especially when working on the road (= no microscope, no Weller, no Panavise) and 3) cutting and stripping Micro-USB cables quickly becomes an expensive exercise, again particularly when on the road, where I often cannot wait for - or sometimes even receive - postal deliveries.

But using the pin headers for power (whether in or out) has a major draw-back: it gets really fiddly if you also want the Pi to wear a hat; the neatest way I've come up with is to replace the 5 V & GND pair of pins with double height pins which pass through the Pi PCB and bend at 90° on the rear - but yet again; this is a pain to do while out of the workshop (except on the Pi Zero, which you can get without the header already soldered in).


I would love it if they could replace the Pi's USB power input with either a pair of screw terminals or a plain old DC barrel jack. Hell, even a separate pair of 2.54 mm header pins would be a huge improvement!

Icon: see ti-tle.

Ofcom measured UK's 5G radiation and found that, no, it won't give you cancer


Re: I'll wait it out.

> a 5W UV source to your head will cause PTCH mutation

Interesting. I am well aware that UV photons do have enough energy to damage DNA (and potentially cause skin cancer) - that's why I was careful to say "incandescent" light bulb; but perhaps I should have been clearer: a tungsten filament bulb is "safe" in terms of UV radiation unlike, say a halogen bulb or a metal-halide bulb. I did not know that as little as 5 W was enough to pose a risk though! But I expect this would have to be in very close proximity (i.e. touching your skin) - otherwise the inverse square law will keep you safe.

> sunshine

Be afraid! No really, be very afraid. That's some dangerous shit. At the same time stellar fusion is our only source of energy (so far), and in the Sun's case the driving force behind all life on Earth our low entropy state. Let's not be ungrateful.

> no-one credible will ever say it is 'safe'

Indeed, and that's because nothing ever is. Safety is a relative concept.


Take care to protect your skin from solar radiation.


Worry about your WiFi router giving you cancer.


Re: I'll wait it out.

It is perhaps worth pointing out that any electromagnetic radiation (e.g. visible light) has the ability to cause things to heat up. Certain frequencies are better than others at depositing their energy in living tissue - cf. microwave ovens, which cause polar molecules (e.g. water) to warm up through dielectric heating. Cf. also infrared heat lamps used to keep people, animals and food nice and warm. It would certainly be unpleasant to be exposed to microwave band radiation in the hundreds of watts at close range - the equivalent, if you like, of having a 500 W incandescent light bulb strapped to your head - or indeed of putting your head inside a running microwave oven. Your skin would turn rather crispy, you'd smell like barbecue and burnt hair, and the pain would be intense - though it's very unlikely to give you a brain tumor. Electromagnetic radiation of these wavelengths is not able to penetrate very deeply, and any photons which do do not have enough energy to smash DNA molecules. The photon's energy quanta rises with the frequency, so in a relative sense gamma radiation is more dangerous than x-rays is more dangerous than UV radiation is more dangerous than visible light is more dangerous than infrared is more dangerous than microwaves is more dangerous than radio waves. But I'm sure you all knew that already. I once burned a perfectly circular hole in a piece of stage blackout fabric by leaving a 1000 W spotlight pointed at it at too close a distance. Luckily the fabric was fireproofed, so it carbonised without catching alight. Imagine what it would have done to your face.


Don't strap a powerful source of electromagnetic radiation to your head - it will hurt.

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick

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Re: 1:1

The Eizo EV2730Q looks pretty sweet; 26.5" @ 1920x1920 Rather pricey at ~€800, but I still want one :)




I still have a Thinkpad 770X from last century (1998). Due to the sluggish CPU (PII 300) and tiny RAM (512 MB) it doesn't see a lot of use, other than for some retro gaming, but the glorious 5:4 13.7" LCD with 1280x1024 resolution is a revelation every time I switch it on. 16:9 is like looking at the world through a letterbox by comparison. That it has the best keyboard of any laptop I've tried (thanks in part to being 6 cm thick!), complete with fold-out feet, a DVD player with MPEG2 acceleration and video input/output as well as SPDIF digital audio, only makes it more impressive. It's definitely a bit of a beast to carry around, but it's a damn sexy beast!

Personally, I wouldn't mind having square aspect ratio desktop monitors (such as used by air traffic controllers, and sometimes seen on trading floors) - but then I still regard computers as productivity tools rather than consumption consoles.

My daily driver is a X230 (modded with a X220 keyboard - can't stand the chicklet ones), but I also keep a X220, X201, X61s, T42p, X32 and 600X. And those are not the only Thinkpads I've owned; just the favourites I couldn't part with...

25 years of Delphi and no Oracle in sight: Not a Visual Basic killer but hard to kill


Re: Still use Delphi

> Windows 10 is roughly 4GB

Since when can you fit a Windows installation in "just" 4 GB? Last time I checked minimun disk space usage for a clean install was in the 20-30 GB range, and I cannot imagine it has shrunk since. And .NET is part of the problem, not the solution. A monstrosity wrapped in an atrocity.

Tesla's chief accounting officer drives off after just a month on the job


Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

> His car company has no future.

That aged well. Since you posted this Tesla has doubled its takings to ~$7bn, and has turned a profit four out of the six last quarters. Their Q3 2019 balance sheet showed cash reserves of $5.7bn, with sales at ~6,000 cars per week. Share price recently peaked above $800. I think your crystal ball might be in need of new batteries.

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?



Am I the only one who's noticed that the least productive jobs are often the best paid? How "productive" is a wealth fund manager? A film star? A footballer? A patent troll? When it comes to providing a basic standard of living for as many people as possible - which surely should be the main function of our economy* - their contribution is insignificant compared to that of the teacher, the nurse, the binman, the factory worker - all of which tend to fall in the lowest wage bracket. In fact, one could argue that rather than contributing the first category represents a net drain on the economy, while the working poor pull far more than their fair load.

*) I.e. make sure everyone has a roof over their head and food on the table before worrying about the rights of billionaires.

At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd


Re: No point

> Yes, but not from MS.

Sure, and you can do similar things using Windows PE builder I think. However:

Windows PE is not a general-purpose operating system. It may not be used for any purpose other than deployment and recovery. It should not be used as a thin client or an embedded operating system. There are other Microsoft products, such as Windows Embedded CE, which may be used for these purposes.

To prevent its use as a production operating system, Windows PE automatically stops running the shell and restarts after 72 hours of continuous use. This period is not configurable.

I don't understand how anyone can remain in this abusive relationship. Must be some variant of Stockholm syndrome.

Is Chrome really secretly stalking you across Google sites using per-install ID numbers? We reveal the truth


Re: Ad flinger makes browser, ad flinger needs to track you

> What would you break out?

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